The crows were loud this morning. Seems it’s the only sound this time of year. Most Vermonters have a hate/hate affair with this pesky, coal-black bird. Ask anyone and they’ll describe them as loud, grating, garbage-spreading nuisances. But my brother, Tommy, he would’ve described them a bit differently.
Seems he had one once as a pet.
So, Tom, I asked recently, tell me about Shotgun.
Got your pen ready, Tudes? Here we go…
It was nigh on 35 years ago, I was driving with Dad up Dole Hill. We were gonna do some partridge hunting. (I’ll edit this next part for those of you who do not condone hunting…) In the hubbub, a crow was caught by some buckshot…
Can I keep him? Poor bird had a broken wing and was flopping all over the place.
Sure, Dad said.
And why is it my father let him keep this dang creature? All I wanted was a pony for crying out loud! But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, back to the story about ANOTHER brother who got to take one home…
Why would you shoot at a crow? I had to ask.
Tom chuckled and said in that direct, forceful way of his. I was fifteen! Do you know how many red squirrels I took out? I was the Terror of the Pines…
I laughed then, but not for all those sad little squirrels, but for the imagery Tom was painting… of him, the mighty hunter, one eye cocked and listening for the savage squirrel to attack.
Named him Shotgun, he continued, because, well he was shot. By a shotgun.
Another example of how terribly uninspired my family was when it came to naming. Want more examples? More proof? Go to my post called “Quaker-Duck.” Just the name says it all…
Kept him in the basement, fed him canned corn and fresh worms I bought from the local store.
He was beautiful, I added and smart. I remember how he’d tilt his head when you talked to him, like he was trying to understand.
Yup, yup, Tom agreed, smacking his lips. He was all that.
So, what happened to him? I prompted. I remember it was cold – didn’t you take him outside or something?
Lost him to a snowball fight.
It was winter. I had him out back in my snow fort. He was my sidekick.
Sure, sure. Steve was hunkered down behind his snow fort and I decided to rush him. I yelled to Shotgun “hold the fort” and leapt out. When I came back, he was gone.
He has a way with words, my brother, doesn’t he? I have to thank him for being brave, for admitting all the gory details of how Shotgun came to be. I have to give him props for confessing, unlike another brother of mine. One who once brought home a baby duck…